The suddenness of a crash while driving can be disorienting. Worse still, by the time you have gathered yourself, you may already see the tail lights of the other driver leaving the scene of the crash.

Hit and run crashes may happen every day—AAA reports that there are hundreds of thousands every year—but that doesn’t make them any less taxing. If you have been in a crash and the other driver left the scene, staying calm and carefully documenting your accident could be key to getting the support you need to recover.

Stay where you are and contact the authorities.

While it can be tempting to go after the other driver, leaving could lead to legal issues for you even if you were not at fault for the accident. Instead, it is essential to protect yourself rather than try to track them down. Pull to the side of the road and get yourself and your passengers to safety if possible.

Next, contact the police. Even if you or your passengers were not seriously injured in the crash, making a police report is essential.

Write down any information that you do have on the other driver.

Even before the authorities arrive at the scene, take a moment to write down any details about the crash while they are fresh in your mind. Information that may be important later includes:

  • The other driver’s license plate
  • Any identifying information about the car, including its make, model and color
  • Any identifying features of the other vehicle including rust spots, dents or broken lights
  • Any identifying information you can give about the driver

These details could help the police find the other driver and hold them responsible for their part in the crash.

Get medical care and contact your insurance company.

As with any crash, be sure to get the care that you need. Get medical care for any injuries, both so that your injuries are treated and so that they are documented. Contact your insurance company to report the damage to your vehicle. Whether or not the other driver can be found, these are important steps to take.

If the other driver can be found, they could face severe consequences.

In Nevada, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident that caused injury or property damage without exchanging insurance and contact information with the other driver. By leaving the scene, the other driver can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony depending on whether the accident caused damage or injuries.

While not every driver is successful in finding the other driver in a hit and run case, if you do find them you have the option to sue them for damages. You could receive compensation to cover medical expenses, repairs to your vehicle and other costs associated with the accident.